Stalking case: 2-day police remand for Vikas Barala, his friend Ashish

Admits driving SUV to drop Ashish in Panchkula but denies stalking Varnika; defence lawyer alleges ‘media trial under pressure’

india Updated: Aug 10, 2017 20:50 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Vikas Barala,Ashish Kumar,Varnika Kundu
Vikas Barala (in blue shirt) being taken into police custody on Wednesday. (Keshav Singh/HT)

A Chandigarh court remanded Vikas Barala, the son of Haryana BJP chief Subhash Barala, and his friend Ashish Kumar, in two days’ police custody on Thursday, a day after they were re-arrested and charged with a bid to kidnap disc jockey Varnika Kundu, 29, in addition to stalking her.

Civil judge Barjinder Pal Singh sent the two accused in police custody till August 12 after the police said they wanted to reconstruct the crime scene.

Defence lawyer Surya Prakash argued that the duo’s arrest was the result of a “media trial”.

“The woman feared kidnapping but no weapon has been recovered. The two are unnecessarily being harassed due to pressure from the media and other quarters. When they were caught by the police, there was no woman at the spot,” Prakash said.

Earlier, the two arrived at the district court complex from the Sector 26 police station amid tight security at 2.20pm. Dressed in a blue shirt Vikas, 23, who aspires to be a lawyer, and Ashish covered their faces with handkerchiefs to avoid the media glare. Vikas wore a grim look and appeared timid. Ashish appeared more confident even while responding to the judge. Vikas was barely audible.

Confronted with CCTV footage, Vikas is learnt to have admitted before the police that he was driving the Tata Safari Storme SUV last Friday night. He is learnt to have told the police that he was on his way to drop Ashish back to his residence in Panchkula. He denied stalking let alone attempting to kidnap Varnika.

Vikas and Ashish were re-arrested on Wednesday after being charged with a non-bailable offence of attempted abduction under Sections 365 and 511 of the IPC, which relates to an attempt to commit an offence punishable with life or other imprisonment. The maximum punishment under this section is of seven years.

The duo was arrested on Saturday following the complaint of Varnika, who is the daughter of senior IAS officer VS Kundu, but were released on bail as they had been booked under bailable sections of the IPC and the Motor Vehicles Act.

The alleged stalking incident -- and their release -- triggered a nationwide outrage and a spate of protests.

The two accused joined the police investigation on Wednesday at the Sector-26 police station, where they were grilled and later arrested.

First Published: Aug 10, 2017 15:52 IST